Yesterday was all about the beach - it's on reclaimed land from the sea, but is lovely nonetheless!

Parked by a rugby field, walked through the park...

And landed in the sand!

The water was cold!

Took a lot of cute ones of Joel, too, but had some trouble retrieving them from the camera (Stephen had to use a special retrieval program just to get the ones above). I even had a few of Matthew deliberately diving into the hot sand, but you'll just have to take my word for how much sand we found later in his clothes - and in his ears!

We arrived home in the afternoon - wind blown, sun kissed, totally relaxed, and with the sand in cuffs of clothing et cetera, we brought home a bit of the fun.

Baby Rice

When we lived in Aichi prefecture, we saw rice paddies all over the place, but can you believe it - this is the only one I've ever seen in Nishinomiya (right in between a 7-11, some storage units, and some apartments and homes).

Getting His Feet Wet

White Bear decided to go pee-pee on the toilet yesterday but had a wee little accident while doing so.

Takyuubin Truck

We had to drop by the delivery-truck place today for me to send off a package, so of course the camera came out (for posterity's sake). I don't know if Matthew has an absolute favorite vehicle, but this is really up near the top of his list.

Just Being Beans

B Is for Bitamin

I don't know how he's done it, but Matthew's teaching himself phonics!

This morning as he gazed upon his beloved once-a-day "bitamin", he surprised us with this: "B is for bitamin!"

Swine Flu Panic

The dreaded piggy flu is spreading like wildfire around the Osaka/Kobe area, though none of the cases are critical. Go out on the streets or to a shop (though the government is telling everyone to stay indoors - all the schools from kindergarten on up to university level are closed for at least a week) and you will see everyone with these on their faces:

(Photo from An American Werewolf in Japan - says "beware of colds")

Apparently all the stores are sold out of the masks! (No thanks to us.)

P.S. Just listening to a truck with a LOUDspeaker driving round the neighborhood, warning people about the flu, to stay inside and gargle. They'd better not wake up my babies or I'll give that truck something to gargle with, and it won't be nice tasty petrol.

Oh, Pooh!

Matthew speaking and overheard by Mama today:

"Pooh. Stuck. Up there. All coming down. Push hard. Come out."

This monologue of Matthew's could've been really unsettling if it wasn't in the context of him "reading" his Japanese Winnie the Pooh storybook. W the P got stuck in a cave entrance while trying to get to some honey.

Phew! Glad that's all it was. Could've been worse. Much worse.

UK friends and rellies alert

If you're headed to the Chelsea Flower Show this year, check out the plant wall exhibit designed and built by homeless people from the Shekinah Mission in Plymouth. Sounds amazing!

Rainy Weekend

Happy plants...

Happy laundry...happy family...

Somebody Stop Me!

Conversation this morning at the beginning of breakfast:

Mama: Matthew, please stop kicking the table.

Matthew: Stopped.

Mama: Thank you for stopping.

Matthew: Amen.

Waiting for Heaven

Thinking about a good friend who went on to heaven before us last week, and watched this Keith Green video yesterday - grabbed my heart strings. (Love his 1982 getup, too.)

Matthew enjoyed the music as well!


The Bean's favorite new word is "disappear" (the soap disappears when you wash it off your hands, the lotion disappears when you rub it into your skin, the bubbles disappear outside when they pop, the helicopter disappears into the sky when it flies out of sight), but I feel so much peace about the fact that we never disappear.

My Three Boys

Monitoring the Situation

According to Matthew, the monitor is the "mama-ter." Very apropos.

Mama's Day

Lunch on Sunday with our friends Jomar, Lissa, Joanna, and Jozel! What a fun time - and Matthew learned all about Jeepneys from them.

Joanna is amazing - she's only 5 but can already read and write loads, and she left us a lovely thank-you message in our guest book. She's also a wonderful singer and dancer and moves like a ballerina!

Jozel is such a sweetie - he's the smiliest child I've ever met and charms everyone he meets. He was so friendly that he wore himself out while here and had a little nap on his daddy's shoulder.

These two kids are proof of what good parents Jomar and Lissa are - Happy Mother's Day, Lissa - and everyone out there!

All in a Day (Part II)

Not only did all this stuff happen yesterday, but I forgot to write one of the most embarrassing moments (even worse than hitting my head so hard on a pole I saw black and my neck crunched).

As the little beans and I were leaving our apartment, I threw open the front door pretty quickly so we could get ourselves out and about as soon as possible, but for some reason the door only opened partway. Felt like something squishy was behind it and hindering the opening process.

And I heard a muffled groan.

Uh-oh. Trouble in paradise.

Turns out it was the gas lady, reading the meter to the side of our front door in our little gated entranceway, and she seemed a bit dazed. Poor thing!

She did manage to comment on Matthew's Thomas T-shirt, though, so I guess she hadn't been knocked out completely.

I'm glad she didn't hike up the price of our bill for that little shenanigan.

Itami Sky Park

Our friends Jomar and Lissa told us about a great new park recently built next to the Itami airport in Osaka, so we set off Saturday morning for a grand day out.

Shoes waited for us in the genkan...

Brekkie and playtime at Mickey D's on the way there...

LOTSA planes taking off and landing (thankfully none crashed)...

Bye-bye plane!


All in a Day

  • Stephen was talking to Matthew about our trip on Saturday to the park next to the Itami airport in Osaka. He wanted to elicit the terms "take off " and "land" that we taught Matthew on that day. When Stephen asked Matthew (while using a hand gesture) what the plane does when it comes back to the ground, Matthew said, "Crash."
  • Matthew picked his nose today, showed me the evidence, and then told me his nose was broken.
  • The four of us take turns saying each other's name, and as each person is called, that person raises his or her hand and says, "Hai!" like Japanese kids do. When we say Joel's name, he raises both hands, smiles, and says, "Ah!"
  • I crunched my neck at the playground today. Joel was crawling through a tunnel, and as there were slides and steps on the other side, I wanted to reach it before he did. As I attempted to jump off my side of the jungle gym, I had my hat on and didn't see the bar going across the top. I sure felt it, though, as I slammed my head into it and felt and heard my neck crunch. Nice. Feels great even now. Kinda tingly and pretty sore.
  • "Monk" was on TV tonight so I watched it and mostly forgot my neck pain, but now that I'm out of my tube-induced hypnotic state, I'm back in the Land of Ouch.
  • It got up to 30 C/86 F today and the boys were sweating like little piggies. What are we gonna do in the real summer?

Letter Man

Matthew loves to use Joel's birthday present from Auntie Holly, some bath crayons, in the shower, and tonight Stephen asked Matthew what letters were in his name so Stephen could write them for him on the wall.

Matthew spelled out all the correct letters one at a time for Stephen to write them! M-A-T-T-H-E-W!

He also knows the difference between capital and lowercase letters and really enjoys looking out for the alphabet wherever we go. He'll spot one and tell me "big W" or "small U" or whatever it happens to be.

It's Time

'Tis the season to turn off the heated toilet seat.

Green Beans


I do so like it, Maffa-I-Am. And I will read it here and there. Yes, I will read it anywhere!

At the Church of St. Arbucks

We took Uncle Andy to Kitano-cho in Kobe where there is an area of old houses where foreigners used to live in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Once you get away from the grime around Sannomiya Station and climb the hill (which Matthew did very well), it turns into quite a classy area with these older-style buildings and the greenery on the hills.

We enjoyed a potter (and toddle) around, and the beans were impressed by the juggling street performer as well. The thought of beans brought to mind the Church of St. Arbucks (the patron saint of mornings), which was also housed in one of these old residences, so we popped in for a quick refreshment before heading home.


Good Laugh

If you've ever tried to teach English to teenagers, be sure and listen to the Lake Wobegone podcast from May 2 - it'll tikkle yer phunny boan.


Stephen and Uncle Andy have taken the little men out for a train ride, so I've got some ME time! Love it. I'm doing all kinds of exciting things like straightening up toys and books, doing laundry, dishes, etc., but I'm getting so much more done so much quicker than I ever could with cute little distracto-beans running around. I might even pop open my book and read more than one sentence!

I do need this space every once in a while. Helps me breathe better.

Watch and Watch Out!

So here's what to show your kids if you need a quick distraction while diaper changing or fingernail cutting, or if you just need a moment to make your grocery list. Whatever. Your kids will thank you. But beware - these songs and stories will continue replaying in your mind, whether you want them there or not. (Most of these came by way of Kim and her daughter Jun!)

  • The Elephant Song - Very cute and catchy and clever. All the best C's.
  • The Dog Says Roof All Day - Will have you boppin' and your toes tappin'.
  • Dr. Seuss's ABC's - Matthew always says the full title, "Dr. Seuss" included.
  • Green Eggs and Ham - After watching the video a few times, I HAD to splurge and order the book from and now it's M's favorite. He pretty much knows it by heart.

J.B.'s Birthday - Continued

The Beansprout's birthday celebrations continued this past Friday when the Mackies came over for a chicken curry dinner (made by moi) and chocolate cake from our favorite cake shop, Tsumagari (for his pre-birthday cake, see today's post on Mamatouille).

Uncle Daddy and Uncle Andy

Uncle Andy is here visiting us from Yokohama for the Japanese Golden Week holiday (Sunday through Wednesday), and the beans have really been enjoying his company.

And now Matthew's got a new name for Daddy: "Uncle Stephen".

Joel-Beansprout: One Year On


  • Joel's walking up a storm!
  • Everything becomes a phone for him to hold to his ear and then pass to one of us.
  • Has a total of 8 teeth now (4 on top, 4 on bottom).
  • Tries to do everything Matthew does.
  • Never stops smiling.
Drooling walking Bean
Delighting us with your joy
Where does the time go?


  • This is our 1,953rd blog post on Fushigi News. Thought you'd like to know that little tidbit.
  • Apparently UK Grandpa lives at the Osaka Aquarium, according to Matthew. I didn't realize this - it will obviously make visiting him a whole lot easier now.
  • My "Uncle" Wayne in Orlando is not doing so great in a battle against cancer. Please pray for him and his wife Donna - my heart hurts for them.
  • Joel turns 1 today. (One-year commemorative post coming soon.)


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